Sunday, February 24, 2013

Austin Russell is back in the groove

Austin Russell
Austin Russell is beginning to heat up after a tepid start to his season. Russell led his Southern Polytechnic Hornets to a 5-2 win over the University of Mobile on Friday in the rubber match of a three-game series. With the victory, the Hornets improved to 11-4 on the season.

Russell went 3-for-6 in the series to raise his batting average to .393, good for second best on the team. His on-base percentage currently sits at an impressive .485. Russell also picked up his first extra-base hit of the year, a double in the series finale.

Now that Russell appears to be settling in with his new team, I'd expect him to see an increase in playing time. He batted fifth on Friday, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him settle into the leadoff or number two hole in the batting order before too long. Russell's next chance to take to the field comes on Tuesday when the Hornets take on Georgia Gwinnett College in a doubleheader. They then go up against Southern Wesleyan University in the three-game set that starts on Friday.

The news isn't quite so rosy for the other Victorian on the Harbourcats roster who was in action this weekend. Nick Pivetta came back to earth rather abruptly, as his New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds fell 8-6 to Weatherford College on Saturday. He gave up five earned runs on six hits in his 3 2/3 innings of work, while he walked three and struck out three batters. The loss lowered Pivetta's record to 2-1, and his ERA jumped to 3.77. His WHIP also took a beating on the weekend, ballooning to 1.40.

The Thunderbirds now have a record of 10-2 on the season. They'll face Clarendon College in a four-game series this weekend.

The third Garden City native on the HarbourCats, Connor Russell, gets his season underway on the weekend when his Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners play four games in Yakima, Washington. The Mariners will play a pair of games against both Everett Community College and Green River Community College. Russell is coming off a stellar sophomore campaign with the Mariners in which he posted a 0.90 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 77 2/3 innings pitched.

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